Monday, 14th January 2019 edition

SingCham Weekly: High price of domestic flight tickets angers passengers

Monday,7th January 2019

Pakistan recorded as Indonesian biggest palm oil buyer

Amid the sluggish price of palm oil, Pakistan set a record for the highest purchase of palm oil from Indonesia, which amounted to 326,410 tons, up 32% compared to the previous month at 246,970 tons. Executive Director of the Indonesian Palm Oil Businessmen Association (Gapki) Mukti Sardjono said the price of cheap palm oil and stock filling seemed to be a driving factor for Pakistan’s rising palm oil imports. Going forward with the widening Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Indonesia and Pakistan.

The government and BI integrate foreign exchange data related to export and import

The Ministry of Finance and Bank Indonesia (BI) have just signed the integration of foreign exchange data related to export and import activities. With the signing, BI will pursue real time data on Export Declaration (PEB) and Goods Import Notification (PIB), even to e-commerce export import activities. Regarding e-commerce data, BI said that it would not be implemented at this time because its coverage was still too broad and difficult to reach.

The Indonesian government will limit steel imports starting in 2020

The government will limit the use of steel imports starting January 20, 2019. The rules aim to limit the use of steel from abroad. The regulation is stated in the Minister of Trade Regulation (Permendag) Number 110 of 2018 concerning Provisions on the Import of Iron or Steel, Alloy Steel, and Derivative Products. This regulation is a revision of Permendag 22 in 2018. Through this regulation, imported steel will be controlled by post border supervision.

Japan begins to collect taxes For travelers

Japan levies a departure tax of 1,000 yen equivalent to US $ 9.24, or Rp. 134,000 per Monday (1/7). Every tourist who leaves the country of sakura will be subject to such fees regardless of the mode of transportation. This step was taken by Japan in order to increase its tax revenue and boost the tourism industry. The Japanese government estimates that with this new levy they will get an additional income of ¥ 50b. This money will be used to improve tourism infrastructure by making the airport immigration process faster.

Tuesday, 8th January 2019

Indonesian adult population has an average wealth of Rp. 128.48m

Credit Suisse Research Institute released “Global Wealth Report 2018”. A number of interesting data appear in the report dated October 2018 ago. One of the contents of the report contains an estimate of the average wealth of the adult population in Indonesia until mid-2018 which reaches US $ 8,920 per person. If the figure is converted into the middle rate of Bank Indonesia (BI) as of June 30, 2018 at the level of Rp. 14,404 per US dollar, then the average Indonesian adult wealth in mid-2018 is Rp. 128.48m per person.

Go-Food: Martabak has been delivered 7 million times during 2018

Entering the fourth year, services between Go-Food foods are increasing. During 2018 Martabak has been delivered through Go-Food around 7 million times. While the rice package accompanied by side dishes during 2018 was ordered up to 16.6 million times. Go-Food Marketing Vice President PT Go-Jek Indonesia Aristo Kristandyo said that most chicken package packages were ordered during the MaMiMuMeMo Party period from November to December 2018. “The last month at the MaMiMuMeMo Party chicken package was ordered almost 10 million times in one month,” explained Aristo.

Throughout 2018, Google blocked hundreds of illegal fintechs

Google Indonesia claims to have blocked hundreds of illegal fintech applications found on Play Store services throughout 2018. Google Indonesia Head of Corporate Communication Jason Tedjasukmana explained, requests for blocking hundreds of fintech peer to peer (P2P) lending applications were based on requests from the government. Jason added, any application content that violates Google services might also violate Google’s product policies. So, before submitting a legal request to Google, users need to mark comments, pictures or videos so that they can be reviewed by one of Google’s content teams.

SoftBank injects funds into the WeWork startup at US $ 2b

SoftBbank Group Corp. plans to inject funds to the WeWork Cos Inc startup of US $ 2b. With the injection of funds, the total investment from startups that are cooperative space service providers reaches US $ 10b. This funding made WeWork a company worth US $ 47b, as stated in one source. Separately, SoftBank will convert warran which has been purchased into equity with a value of US $ 20b.

Wall Street exchanges lifted due to progress on US-China trade negotiations

Wall Street shares climbed again in early trading on Tuesday (1/8). Strengthening industrial sector shares and a surge in Amazon share prices helped extend Wall Street’s rebound for the third consecutive day amid growing hopes of progress in US-China trade talks. Although only a few details emerged from the trade negotiations, a delegation member The US said the talks would continue for the third day which was actually not scheduled.

Wednesday, 9th January 2019

Exporters seek incentives for using local raw materials

The Indonesian Exporters Association (GPEI) is seeking incentives from the government for the use of local raw materials to manufacture its products. GPEI chairman Benny Soetrisno said that certain imported raw materials were cheaper than local ones because of government incentives implemented through a scheme known as the import facility for export oriented products (KITE).  Under the KITE scheme, Benny said, the government freed exporters from paying value-added tax (VAT).

Indonesia’s giant bank is ready for business expansion this year

The business of big banks this year is increasingly blooming, the business octopus of BUKU IV banks in Indonesia is getting wider. Aside from the relatively sleek performance, the planned expansion of the banking business this year is quite crowded. At least, three major banks in the country, namely PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Tbk (BRI), PT Bank Mandiri Tbk and PT Bank Central Asia Tbk (BCA) began to actively consolidate from the end of 2018 until entering 2019. BRI bought shares in three Danareksa companies . Meanwhile, Mandiri will acquire financial services companies.

Government allocates Rp 6t for free electricity connections

The government will allocate 6t (US$422.85m) in 2019 to provide low-income families with electricity connections, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said in a statement on Wednesday. “We will distribute the funds for free connections [to low-income households],” Jonan said, adding that many households could afford the monthly electricity rates, but were not able to pay the Rp 500,000 connection fee.  

Apple CEO confident of prospects despite naysayers

Shares of Apple nudged higher on Tuesday after Chief Executive Tim Cook touted the company’s technology pipeline and characterized worries about the company’s future as overwrought. Cook, in an interview with CNBC just six days after a sales warning sent shares skidding, highlighted a “culture of innovation” that he predicted would keep Apple a major force in technology. “In terms of the naysayer, I’ve heard this over and over again,” Cook said. “I’ve heard it in 2001, I’ve heard it in 2005, in ‘7, in ‘8, in ’10, in ’12 and ’13. You can probably find the same quotes from the same people over and over again.

Thursday, 10th January 2019

P2P lending platforms distributed loans worth Rp 20t in 2018: OJK

Loans distributed through peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms reached Rp 20 trillion (US$1.42b) last year or 681.25 percent higher than the figure in 2017, which was recorded at Rp 2.56 trillion, according to the Financial Services Authority (OJK). OJK financial technology (fintech) licensing, regulation and supervision director Munawar Kasan said the number of people, who sought loans from the fintech lending platforms, had increased significantly. Munawar said up to December last year, 88 fintech platforms have registered with the OJK. These included 10 new platforms, namely AdaKami, Modal Usaha, Asetku, Danafix, Lumbung Dana, Lahansikam, Modal Nasional, Dana Bagus, ShopeeKredit and ikredo online.

Indonesia slightly lowers target for investment in electricity

The government is lowering its investment target for the electricity sector this year to US$12.04b, 1.3% less than last year’s target of $12.2b, after taking into account a recent slowdown in electricity consumption. Only $11.28b was invested in 2018, but that was 24.5% more than the $9.06b invested in 2017. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry stated that most of the investment would be used for the construction of power plants. The ministry aims to have a total installed electricity generation capacity of 66,500 MW by the end of 2019, up from the current 62,500 MW.

Indonesia airline brings live music to the skies

Indonesian national flag carrier Garuda is bringing music to the skies with a series of live acoustic concerts on domestic flights, the airline said. Passengers will be serenaded at 35,000 feet in a scheme aimed at wooing millennials “who want a different flight experience”, airline spokesman M. Ikhsan Rosan. The carrier held its first in-flight concert on Wednesday (Jan 9), when two musicians performed for a captive audience aboard a flight between the capital, Jakarta, and the holiday island of Bali. Garuda said sets would last 10 to 15 minutes on select flights, and there would be a focus on promoting upcoming talent.

Singtel enters electricity reselling business in tie-up, will sell plans through Singtel Power

Telecommunications heavyweight Singtel has ventured into the electricity reselling business in a tie-up with YTL PowerSeraya’s integrated energy provider unit Geneco.The power to be resold through Singtel Power will allow households to save up to 30 per cent on their current bills, and the switch from their incumbent provider will be “seamless”, said Singtel and Geneco in a joint statement on Thursday (Jan 10). Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, chief executive officer of Singtel’s consumer Singapore division, said: “With Singtel Power, we seek to provide greater value, choice and flexibility to Singapore households. We are excited to be a convenient one-stop shop for their power and communications needs. In addition to savings on their power bills, customers can enjoy an attractive discount on their fibre broadband subscription and mobile handset purchase.”

Friday, 11th January 2019

High price of domestic flight tickets angers passengers

The year-end holiday season may be over but some netizens are still complaining about the significantly high price of airline tickets, especially for domestic routes. Since late December, a petition regarding the matter has circulated online, collecting more than 85,000 signatures by Friday afternoon out of a target of 150,000. Responding to the buzz, the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA) stated on Thursday that the current price range of airline tickets was in accordance with the Transportation Ministry’s regulation relating to maximum airfares.

Indonesia’s plans to regulate ride-hailing rates threaten Grab, Go-Jek models

Indonesia is preparing to launch regulations fixing the rates drivers and riders for ride-hailing services such as Grab and Go-Jek receive, two government officials said this week, creating potential obstacles for the companies’ expansion. The ministry’s Public Transportation Director Ahmad Yani said a dependency on incentive-driven payments and low fixed rates per kilometre was a safety risk as it led to drivers overworking. Yani said Grab paid 1,200 rupiah (US$0.085) per km (0.6 miles) with a focus on bonuses, while Go-Jek’s rate was 1,400 rupiah (US$0.099) per km. The officials said fixed fare ranges for motor bikes were still being finalised, but would be implemented from March. Fixed rates for ride-hailing cars will start in June and be set at 3,500 to 6,000 rupiah (US$0.43) per km in the islands of Java, Sumatra, and Bali.

7 million Chinese set to travel abroad over Lunar New Year

Of the 400 million Chinese set to travel over Chinese New Year, 7m will be traveling abroad. That’s according to a report from online travel agency Ctrip, the Chinese equivalent of TripAdvisor, reports Chinese state news agency Xinhua. So far, Ctrip says people from 100 Chinese cities have booked travel to nearly 500 destinations in more than 90 countries and regions. The most popular international destinations include neighboring countries Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.

Singapore, Vietnam shortlisted for second Trump-Kim summit: Report

“(The venues you should pay attention to) are those mentioned by media including Vietnam, Singapore and Hawaii,” a South Korean foreign affairs ministry official told the Korean Herald, speaking on condition of anonymity. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday said the second United States-North Korea summit would take place “soon”. Meanwhile, it was reported earlier this week that US State Department officials recently met several times with their North Korean counterparts in Hanoi to discuss planning the second summit between the two countries, fuelling speculation the Vietnamese capital could play host to the event.

About 30,000 workers found jobs through Adapt and Grow initiative in 2018: PM Lee

About 30,000 job seekers found work last year through the Adapt and Grow initiative designed to help Singaporeans affected by the economic slowdown and restructuring, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. This was an increase from the 25,000 in 2017 – an “encouraging” figure that pointed to growing momentum in the Government’s efforts to help Singaporeans grow their skills and adapt to changing job demands, Mr Lee said after a visit to the Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Careers Connect centre located at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.